I may stand

In dedication to my great-great-great aunt Ellen Melville ( 13 May 1882 – 27 July 1946) .
The first woman in New Zealand to be elected to a municipal authority (1913 – 1946).

Miss Ellen Melville is elected to the Auckland City Council.

Ellen steps up to the lectern
And she faces

down prejudice.

Our heroine stares fiercely into the face of ignorance and resistance.

She begins to speak.

Ellen is ‘not one whit disconcerted by interjectors.’
She is ready to move mountains.

Miss Lauren Parker speaks at the regional debating competition.

I step up to the lectern
And I stand

in my place.

I stare fiercely into the face of a good argument.
Not at prejudice.

I begin, and no one interrupts me.

I may stand here and speak

because she stood and spoke.

I may stand up for what I believe in

because she stood and believed.

I can be who I want.
I can do what I want.
I can go where I want.
So long as I work and fight as hard as she did.

And I know that I may stand here today

because she took a stand

New Zealand’s women stand together in a field of white camellias.
Now we can see the sunshine, but we still have some growing to do.

Lauren Parker
Northcote College